On his website, sheriff candidate Lane Campbell admits that he lost the race four years ago – not to mention losing this year’s primary. He admits that “many thought I didn’t have the administrative experience to manage the Sheriff’s Office” – which was true then, and now.
There are only so many times someone with 40 years of law enforcement experience can (according to Campbell’s website) “start at the bottom and work (his) way up” before we stop believing him. His campaign has been long on rhetoric and blaming others, but short on facts. This is evident by his comments in the Oct. 13 article, “Deputy with sexual harassment history arrested for rape.”
First, the facts: Back in 2014 Sgt. John Nieder was accused of sexually harassing a female officer. Then-Sheriff Brown fired him, but Lane Campbell and the sheriffs’ guild insisted that the case be taken to binding arbitration, where the arbitrator decided Nieder had to be rehired.
Back then, Campbell and Felici had similar views: According to Sheriff Brown, Felici was the only one among senior staff who objected, outspokenly, about Nieder being promoted to sergeant.
For his part, during arbitration Campbell was “shocked” about Nieder, whereas others in the department, including Felici, already strongly suspected Nieder’s behavior.
Coming up to the present: Nieder was accused of harassing a male officer. Now as then, the now-current Sheriff Felici was faced with two competing versions, no hard evidence, and the prospect that a guild-mandated arbitrator would reinstate Nieder.
Therefore, Sheriff Felici took the most appropriate and reasonable action he could to resolve this. But now … Deputy Lane is making claims about a cover-up by Sheriff Felici, and that there was a shoddy investigation by his own department.
We must ask ourselves, who should we believe, the facts or Deputy Lane’s accusations? In this case, sheriff candidate Campbell has two choices: He can either tell us whom, among his fellow officers, was involved in this cover-up and shoddy investigation. Or, he can show us he’s a “real” Constitutional Sheriff and plead the Fifth (Amendment), again.
In either case, I trust and believe Sheriff Felici. He has a history of acting intelligently and thoughtfully, in both supporting his department, and in protecting and serving our community.